Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Lakewood ban in NYT

The Lakewood internet ban has -- finally, almost 2 months after the event -- hit the NYT. To their credit, they understand that when the rabbis talk of the 'threat' of the internet, they are not only talking about pornography but about exposure to theology, free discussions, exchange of ideas etc, and the article is quite heavy on this point. Indeed, they begin with an anecdote about a blogger, Shtreimel. It appears that Mr Streimel -- who ended his 'Hassid and a Heretic' blog in October with a long 'confession' about how he's changed his wicked ways, and removed his archive -- has in fact been blogging, quite normally, on another site since July, under a completely new name. Hmmm. It was obvious to everyone that the way his previous blog ended was unlikely. Now that the web address is in the NYT I suppose he'll have to give us all an explanation: was he threatened with outing? Or did he just feel constrained by the format of the old blog, in which case, why the strange ending? And -- most importantly -- if he wanted a fresh start as a blogger, for whatever reason, why is he suddenly drawing attention to the fact that "Shtreimel" is still writing?
Back to the NYT. I'm surprised that again, considering the ban was announced before RH, the paper apparently never thought to ask how many people are actually obeying it. You would think that was an essential component of the story. The whole article, btw, reads as if it were the bare bones of a much longer piece that the writer never got around to writing.

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